Previously on Time Patrol: the fearless crew and passengers of TSS Equinoxio follow the 1866 Cambodia expedition of Doudart de Lagrée, jumping to and fro in hyperspace to the 1930’s and early 21st century. Above: the central alley to Angkor Vat, 1930. in La France lointaine:
“Jump to 2018, Scotty, please.”
2018. Angkor Vat. Jump!
1866. Doudart de Lagrée expedition. Angkor Vat, photograph by Gsell. Think tripod. Heavy wooden camera. Long exposure time. Probably glass plates. To be later wrapped with care and carried by buffalo-drawn carriages.
2018. I fell down the stairs in one of the last temples. Missed my footing. When I realized I could not stop the fall, old reflexes kicked in: horse riding and judo. Instead of fighting the fall, I “embraced” it. Rolled down. Quite spectacular, but nothing broken. Just scrapes and bruises. 🙂 Washed arms and legs with bottled water, and asked the Tuk-tuk driver to take us to a “pharmacy” to buy antiseptic and bandages. He took us wayyyy inside the countryside, where no tourists ever wander. We caught this lone buffalo on the side of the road. They once were everywhere, helping in the fields.
1896. Photo by Salles. (In L’Indochine, published by Herscher) Buffalo in a rice field. Jump!
1870. In Le magasin pittoresque. Engraving by Lancelot, based on a photo, likely by Gsell.
2018. Lion on a royal terrace. Angkor Thom. Lions are a recurring theme in Asian symbolism. Most lion statues in Angkor are worn out, eaten out by age, rain or pilfering. Below the lion stands Garuda, the Bird God and King of birds. Garuda is the vahana (mount) of Vishnu. Again, the influence oh Hinduism. Blended in fusion with Buddhism.
19th century. A divine Apsara dancing in the ruins. Jump!
2018. The Khmer equivalent of the Greeks’ three graces. Note the feet turned sideways, while the dancers are facing us. Not unlike the Egyptian paintings of the Pharaohs.
1930. Child fisher”men”, near Angkor Vat. The baskets they hold are called “nasses” in French, fish traps. We had one of those for many years. Turned upside down, set on a metal base with a round glass on top. A perfect side table. Jump!
2018. Sras srang, the royal pond, Angkor Thom is behind us.
1905. Atlas colonial.
1930. The elephant terrace at Angkor Thom. Bas-relief after bas-relief, statues after statues of elephants. “Scotty, try to put us in the exact same spot please.”
“Will do our best, Captain. Jump!”
2018. A few yards’ difference.
1930. Angkor Thom. The Bayon. The many faces of Brahma.
I may (probably) go back. Just to spend an entire day in silence in the Bayon, and contemplate the face of Buddha. Or is it Brahma? Or is it the same? On top of every tower is a lotus flower.
1930. Angkor Thom. Statue of the Leper King. Watch carefully every statue. The headless one on the left, the Buddha-like statue in the centre, and the monkey (Hanuman?) on the right. Juuuuuump!
2018. There are incense sticks on the first statue. The statue in the back has been wrapped in a yellow gold cloth. A shrine set up with many more incense sticks. I thought many times during this trip to light up a few sticks and wave them above my head as I saw the people do… I didn’t.
The Leper King terrace was built by King Jawayarman VII. The (first) statue is that of Yama, the God of death. The (second) statue was called the Leper King because of moss and decoloration, reminiscent of leprosy, and of an ancient leper King, called Yasovarman I (9th-10th century AD). The name Cambodians now use is Dharmaraja. King of Dharma. Dharma meaning “the right way of living” or the “cosmic law and order”. Among many others. Take your pick.
May Dharma be with you. 🙂